Winter is in the air! For us at oranj fitness Airdrie, not only does that mean we are bundling up before heading outside, but we are also focusing on staying on track with our goals, and living a stress-free season. Winter can be a busy and stressful time of year. From dropping the kids off at hockey practice, trying to recover from the holidays, co-ordinating your families schedule, and trying to crush your New Year’s resolutions; the to do list can seem endless. So how do you sort through the mental clutter that’s taking over and learn to master your mind? For us, this means focusing on a daily meditation. This meditation helps to calm the mind, body and soul.
There are many scientifically proven physical, psychological and energetic benefits to meditation. Some of our favourite include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Decreased depression
- Increased immune function
- Increased focus and attention
- Improved memory
- Increased positive emotions
Meditation is something that has positively affected both of our lives. It has helped us be more focused, eliminate negative thoughts, and become more tuned in with what our bodies require to be fulfilled and successful in life. Before you come up with excuses of “I can’t sit still”, “Meditation isn’t for me”, “I’m not good at it”, “I’ve tried it before & failed”, consider that meditation, just like fitness, isn’t something you are good at from the get go. You didn’t start off curling 30lb dumb bells after all, it takes time! We encourage you to dedicate yourself to a consistent mediation practice for 21 days. It takes 21 days to start a new habit after all. So be patient. And be gentle on yourself. Enjoy the process and see where it takes you.
Two of the most commonly used types of meditation are:
- Focused Attention, and
One, or a combination of both, are a great place to start a meditation practice. Focused Attention is a technique that asks the practitioner to focus with precise attention on a single item. Examples can be focusing on your breath, a flame, or a mantra that is relevant to you. The mantra can be something as simple as “I am inspired” or “I am strong”. This becomes your focal point to draw our mind back when it starts to wander.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention without judgement. It means you do not judge your experiences or emotions as they begin to appear. It allows you to observe in silence. Breath and allow your emotions to pass without attaching judgement or labelling them as good or bad.
Sound like something you would like to incorporate into your January routine? Here are some helpful tips for beginners;
- Choose the right spot. Pick somewhere quiet and peaceful. The tiniest noise or disturbance is enough to distract your practice. You want to feel safe, warm and at peace.
- Get comfy! Finding a comfortable position can be one of the most difficult parts of starting a meditation practice. We recommend a meditation cushion or a bolster. If you don’t have one, you can pick one up at our studio anytime. We love using as many props as possible to get comfortable! Sit on top of your cushion and align your pelvis to neutral. Ensure there is no discomfort in the low back and your hips are higher than you knees. Sit tall, lengthening through the crown of your head. Once you’ve settled in, try to relax as much as possible.
- Soft, calm music can help the body relax and stay in a focused mediation. There are some really great guided meditations available on Insight, Spotify or iTunes to help you get started!
- Take your time. Begin with a short mediation practice and work your way up to longer sessions once you feel comfortable and focused. Five minutes is a great starting point. Set a timer and gradually increase your meditation practice each day. Then simply sit and commit. Be patient with yourself if you find your mind wandering. There is a reason it is called a practice.
We suggest you carve out a few minutes each day to your meditation practice. We promise that’s all it takes; a couple minutes every day. Settle in and empty your mind. You will soon feel your anxieties and worries melt away. If you don’t feel comfortable practicing mediation at home, we gladly invite you to join our classes at oranj fitness Airdire. Check out our winter schedule here for upcoming yin/restorative yoga & mediation classes to help warm your soul and calm your mind this season.